Westcoast Boardwalk, 2020 by SE Ong
I joined PhotoStory as a volunteer photographer mentor to better understand mental health issues and challenges. As it turned out, I received more than I gave. Reading raw, honest, painful, heart wrenching narratives shared by the peers, I could almost feel their darkness and anguish. And in many ways, I have these darkness and anguish as well. Over the 2-month circuit breaker period, there were days when I felt reality slipping away when the normal was disrupted and shifted. Isolation is not a natural state of being. Reality became distorted. What kept me on this side of sanity was family, loved ones and friends.
Being committed to the PhotoStory project was serendipitous in hindsight, as I read and listen - first hand - how the peers overcame their mental health challenges. In many ways, I now count the peers I journeyed with as my good friends. Peers are ordinary people with very real struggles, and society is only beginning to recognize and deal with mental health issues. There is a fuzzy gray area in the mental wellbeing spectrum. The images I share are but an imperfect glimpse into the journey from Darkness to Light.
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